Golden Gate Half: Five Goals

Since officially becoming a “real runner” back in 2012, I’ve maintained a regular schedule of running two half marathons per year; one in the spring and one in the fall. This has allowed me to feed my competitive nature while also allowing me to feed my face during the summertime.

My first six halfs were great experiences, in part because my times got incrementally better with each race. While I enjoyed this steady improvement, I knew at some point it would stop. I knew eventually I would peak then begin a slow regression. What I did not foresee was crashing and burning the way I did at the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon back in May.

It was bad. My time was lousy. My legs felt horrible. I had to stop and walk a bunch of times.

I sucked.

Well, this weekend I’m looking to put that race behind me as I participate in the Golden Gate Half in San Francisco. My goal for the race is simply to do better. However, that’s pretty vague and would make for a boring blog post.

So instead, I’m breaking it down into five very achievable goals.

Goal #1: Don’t Suck
In case I wasn’t clear in the prologue to this list, my last half marathon went very badly. I would prefer that never happen again, but I would particularly like to avoid sucking this weekend. It would be nice to bounce back and go into the winter months with the confidence that running 13.1 miles is something I can continue to do at a respectable level in 2017.

Goal #2: Finish in Less Than 2 Hours
In most of my previous races, breaking two hours would’ve been low hanging fruit. But my spring half changed things so I’m putting this back on the list. I’ve had a good 12 weeks of training and am confident I will be able to finish with, what is for me, a respectable time.  That being said, I was confident back in May as well, so…

Winning runner with cloud background
Me… gloriously crossing the finish line! (Dramatization)

Goal #3: Enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco is one of my favorite places and I haven’t visited in over a decade. It’s been so long that the last time I was there renting an apartment was relatively affordable. For most of this race I will either be looking at the Golden Gate Bridge or running across it. This architectural wonder is one of my favorite man-made structures so I need to be mindful about removing my race blinders and soaking in its unquestioned majesty.

Goal #4: Don’t Shart Myself
This has been an ongoing goal of mine since I started running long distances and it will continue to be a priority. It’s probably a misfortune that befalls runners of much longer distances as opposed to us 13.1-milers, but maintaining supremacy over my bowels will always make this list.

The best reward this runner could ever ask for.

Goal #5: Post-race In-N-Out Burger
When I made hotel reservations for the Golden Gate Half, I noticed I was staying three blocks from an In-N-Out Burger. I believe people fall into two categories: people who love In-N-Out and people who are sick and tired of those people telling them how much they love In-N-Out. I am definitely in the former. And I plan on stuffing my face with a double-double after the race. Because why do I run if not to occasionally allow myself to shovel garbage in my face under the pretense of it being a “reward” for a job well done.

How many of these goals will I achieve? They’re pretty pedestrian so I’m hoping all five. If not, I’ll have to write another ranting post-half post… and no one wants that.

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